US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis embarks on visit to Middle East, W Africa, South Asia

On December 3, Mattis will travel to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to participate in the Aqaba Process, “a meeting on countering violent extremism in West Africa”, hosted by King Abdallah II of Jordan. Related News

Defence Secretary Jim Mattis on Friday began his trip to Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and Kuwait to re-affirm the enduring US’ commitment to partnerships in the Middle East, West Africa and South Asia, the Pentagon said.

Mattis would reach Pakistan on December 4, in second such trip after US President Donald Trump announced his South Asia Strategy on August 21.

During his Pakistan visit, Mattis is expected to meet Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Early this week, Gen John Nicholson, the commander of the US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan, rued that Pakistan has not been able to carry out the counterterrorism actions which it promised to the Trump administration after the announcement of the new South Asia Strategy.

Mattis left US today to re-affirm the enduring US commitment to partnerships in the Middle East, West Africa and South Asia, the Pentagon said.

“The defence secretary will begin his engagements with a visit to Egypt on December 2, where he will meet President el-Sisi and Minister of Defence Gen Sedki Sobhy,” it said.

On December 3, Mattis will travel to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to participate in the Aqaba Process, “a meeting on countering violent extremism in West Africa”, hosted by King Abdallah II of Jordan.

A day later, he will visit Pakistan as he plans to meet Prime Minister Abbasi and Army Chief Bajwa.

His trip concludes with a visit to Kuwait on December 5, where he will meet Emir Sabah Ahmad al-Sabah and other Kuwaiti leaders.

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